How to improve Boston’s infrastructure future – Venkat Sumantran, Charles Fine, and David Gonsalvez

MIT Sloan Professor Charles Fine

CEO and rector at the Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation, David Gonsalvez

Chairman of Celeris Technologies, Venkat Sumantran

From the Boston Globe

Mayor Marty Walsh and his team deserve a great deal of credit for creating an enlightened, forward-looking vision for Boston’s transportation future. The initiative Go Boston 2030 tackles a key challenge for the city: its aging mobility infrastructure. However, this plan is missing several opportunities to improve the livability of Boston and foster inclusive economic growth. The plan can and should be more ambitious.

Changes to the plan are critical, since a city’s mobility architecture can have a huge impact on its economy. Inefficiencies that sap economic growth stem from many sources like loss of productivity of people and assets, air quality remediation costs, reduced attractiveness to businesses, and impact on health. In 2016, Boston’s ranking in the INRIX traffic scorecard, which analyzes the impact of traffic in cities around the world, deteriorated from number 28 to 16 among US cities with the worst traffic congestion. The average Boston motorist wastes more than 57 hours each year, notwithstanding declining per capita use of personal transportation. Commuters on I-93, Storrow Drive, and Routes 1 and 128 know this all too well.

Access, connectedness, and capacity — Grade: B

Over 30 percent of the city’s lowest income residents are inadequately served by public or alternative travel modes and are pushed toward car-dependency. In contrast, for those in the highest income segment, only 10 percent face this situation. Initiatives such as the proposed investments in the Green Links project, seeking a four-fold increase in pedestrian commutes, as well as the expansion of the Hubway bike-share system, will widen options for many commuters. Their options may be even more comprehensively augmented with better connectivity.

Boston’s mass transit is highly dependent on the radial metro routes and offers fewer services to many whose commutes do not take them to downtown locations. Adding more circumferential routes for high-capacity Bus Rapid Transit — such as connecting Brighton and Dorchester or Fenway with South Boston — with synchronized connections to existing T stops, could offer many commuters more efficient travel with moderate investment. These systems could also serve as feeders to underserved regions such as Roxbury, Mattapan, Dorchester, and South Boston.

In addition, the issue of capacity augmentation needs urgent attention. To overcome funding limitations, the plan’s expectation to encourage ride-share vans to complement public transit deserves faster expansion. Yet, to avoid controversies, such as those that have arisen with the expansion of app-hailed taxis like Uber and Lyft, these services will need to be operated with appropriate governance, regulations, and oversight.

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Greater Boston’s one thing — Aurélie Thiele

MIT Sloan Visiting Associate Professor Aurélie Thiele

MIT Sloan Visiting Associate Professor Aurélie Thiele

From Xconomy

It is a truism in career development that you should only do one thing and do it well. You don’t want to pursue multiple business endeavors—that would scatter your energy. Offer a consistent image to the world. Focus.

When I moved back to Cambridge for my sabbatical at MIT, where I earned a doctorate in engineering a decade ago, I thought I knew what to expect. The revitalization of Kendall Square, the Innovation District in South Boston, the new MBTA stop in Somerville, pharmaceutical companies building their new headquarters within walking distance of the Charles River, Google opening an office nearby: I was aware of all these. They were aligned with Greater Boston’s brand as an innovation hub in science and engineering. Left-brain innovation, I call it. For me, that was Greater Boston’s One Thing.

But I was most struck, after I came back, by the amount of right-brain innovation going on—new arts-related offerings that customers pay for. (It is not innovation if it doesn’t have marketplace value.) Everybody knows Boston’s reputation in science, technology, and engineering. But an innovative mindset is sustained by right-brain activities: spend an hour at the museum or two in a theater and view the world differently, especially if the cultural offerings are on the cutting edge. Of course, Boston has all the events that residents count on in a metropolis: open artists’ studios on First Fridays, a book festival every October, a film festival, a jazz festival, community programs at local museums, authors’ events at indie bookstores, and so on. Every large city with any hope to attract the educated, however, does the same. I like to think that Boston is more successful at it—I’ll argue that the Boston events involve writers and artists of a caliber rarely seen elsewhere—but those events alone don’t make Boston special. What does is the role of new works in the city’s cultural scene, and what they mean about Boston’s identity.

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London Calling: Lessons from the States applied in Britain’s capital: A British diplomat shares entrepreneurial truths at MIT Sloan – Philip Budden

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Philip Budden

MIT Sloan Sr. Lecturer Philip Budden

Britain is well known as the site of the world’s first Industrial Revolution, but until recently London – home of the scientific and financial revolutions that preceded industrialization – was rarely considered an entrepreneurial hotspot since then.

London seemed simply not to have captured the kind of world-class, innovation-driven entrepreneurship that has propelled Silicon Valley and Kendall Square to international acclaim.

Seeking to play my role in helping London recapture some of its entrepreneurial tradition, I took up a post in Fall 2012 as a Visiting Scholar at MIT Sloan on behalf of the British Government.  For the previous five years, I had been Britain’s Consul General to New England focused on transatlantic business development and had moved the Consulate into One Broadway (aka E70) to deepen the links with MIT, Kendall Square and the high-tech sectors.

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Where Should You Launch Your Startup? — Charles Kane

MIT Sloan Sr. Lecturer Charles Kane

From Forbes

There is a lot of buzz lately about entrepreneurship hotspots across the country. We hear about successful startups in many places, from Austin, Tex., to Reston, Va. What does this mean for entrepreneurs? If you’re launching a startup, does it really matter where you locate?

Yes, it does matter. If you’re starting out, it’s by far best to be in either Silicon Valley or the Boston area. They remain the hottest centers of entrepreneurship and venture capital, so you’ll be in an inherently supportive ecosystem where entrepreneurship is as natural as drinking water. Read More »

MIT Sloan grad on the “sharing economy,” the next big trend in social commerce

Jaime Contreras MBA ’11 and Tal Snir MBA ’11

My first entrepreneurial venture in the so-called “sharing economy” happened accidentally. It was 2009, and I had just moved to Cambridge, MA to start at MIT Sloan. I brought my car with me because I was sure I would need it. As it turned out, the only time I used it was to go grocery shopping; mostly it sat idle. Word got around that I had a car, and I soon found myself fielding requests to borrow it from friends. One suggested I charge for the privilege.

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